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Canon 40D - what default settings would you change for general photography?

 
 
EAL
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      01-05-2008
The question would apply to many cameras, but I'm playing with my 40D
right now...

For general shooting, I suppose (possibly after a few weeks) most
would set the control dial to P.

You might shoot raw, or not, depending on how much space you have left
on the card.

What about the default contrast/sharpness settings?

Would you set a single focus point instead of 9?

What about the flash sync speed... it's pretty annoying to have the
shutter do a 1/2 sec exposure when you want a close-up of some object
that is in some shady location.

Other suggestions?

Ed
 
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Matt Ion
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      01-05-2008
EAL wrote:
> The question would apply to many cameras, but I'm playing with my 40D
> right now...


Nice!

> For general shooting, I suppose (possibly after a few weeks) most
> would set the control dial to P.


I did that with my 300D right out of the box.

> You might shoot raw, or not, depending on how much space you have left
> on the card.


I'll usually shoot highest-quality, largest JPG, for ease of processing
and workflow, and switch to RAW when the subject/desire/intent calls for
it, particularly for landscapes, high-contrast or low-light scenes, and
the like - places where I want to make use of the additional dynamic
range provided by the RAW format.

> What about the default contrast/sharpness settings?


My rule of thumb is to leave all these settings at "0" or default -
these things are easy to tweak in software, and it's better to NOT have
the camera apply excessive processing first. Remember, it's much harder
to UNDO something the camera has done to the picture, than to simply do
it manually later.

> Would you set a single focus point instead of 9?


That would depend entirely on what I'm shooting. I'll usually use all 7
of my 300D's focus points - the camera can often be aimed to "encourage"
a particular point to lock on, and holding focus-lock then allows me to
recompose. There are rare times I'll select a specific focus point, but
I find making the change usually consumes more time than it's worth, and
can screw me up later if I forget to set it back. In fact, I'm more
likely to simply switch to manual focus than to select one specific
focus point.

> What about the flash sync speed... it's pretty annoying to have the
> shutter do a 1/2 sec exposure when you want a close-up of some object
> that is in some shady location.


That, too, will vary with the situation. Sometimes you want a slow
shutter sync, to get particular effects. Sometimes you want it faster
to reduce or virtually eliminate the effect of ambient light.

> Other suggestions?


Take a course - community college, online, or whatever suits you - in
basic photography. It doesn't need to be a digital-specific course,
just something that teaches the theory and application behind concepts
such as exposure, exposure compensation, depth-of-field, adjusting
shutter and aperture for different purposes, and so on. A good grasp on
the basics will make it easier to see and understand what's happening
when you choose various settings, and determine what settings to use to
achieve a particular outcome.
 
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Neil Ellwood
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Posts: n/a
 
      01-05-2008
On Sat, 05 Jan 2008 04:00:56 +0000, EAL wrote:

> The question would apply to many cameras, but I'm playing with my 40D
> right now...
>
> For general shooting, I suppose (possibly after a few weeks) most would
> set the control dial to P.
>
> You might shoot raw, or not, depending on how much space you have left
> on the card.
>
> What about the default contrast/sharpness settings?
>
> Would you set a single focus point instead of 9?
>
> What about the flash sync speed... it's pretty annoying to have the
> shutter do a 1/2 sec exposure when you want a close-up of some object
> that is in some shady location.
>
> Other suggestions?
>
> Ed


My suggestion would be to go to your local lending library and borrow a
couple of books on photography, study them and then go out and practice.

--
Neil
reverse ra and delete l
Linux user 335851
 
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Warren
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      01-05-2008

"Neil Ellwood" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Sat, 05 Jan 2008 04:00:56 +0000, EAL wrote:
>
>> The question would apply to many cameras, but I'm playing with my 40D
>> right now...
>>
>> For general shooting, I suppose (possibly after a few weeks) most would
>> set the control dial to P.
>>
>> You might shoot raw, or not, depending on how much space you have left
>> on the card.
>>
>> What about the default contrast/sharpness settings?
>>
>> Would you set a single focus point instead of 9?
>>
>> What about the flash sync speed... it's pretty annoying to have the
>> shutter do a 1/2 sec exposure when you want a close-up of some object
>> that is in some shady location.
>>
>> Other suggestions?
>>
>> Ed

>
> My suggestion would be to go to your local lending library and borrow a
> couple of books on photography, study them and then go out and practice.
>
> --
> Neil
> reverse ra and delete l
> Linux user 335851


When I got my first SLR (actually a DSLR) I bought "Understanding Exposure"
by Bryan Peterson. Very helpful.

Warren

 
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Tony Polson
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      01-05-2008
Neil Ellwood <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>My suggestion would be to go to your local lending library and borrow a
>couple of books on photography, study them and then go out and practice.



That's heresy!

Everyone on Usenet knows that the best way to improve your photography
is to buy more expensive equipment and use it in Program mode.

</irony>

 
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Mark B.
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Posts: n/a
 
      01-05-2008
"EAL" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> The question would apply to many cameras, but I'm playing with my 40D
> right now...
>


I have the 30D, but the questions you asked apply to both...

> For general shooting, I suppose (possibly after a few weeks) most
> would set the control dial to P.
>


Nope, I shoot Av most of the time.


> You might shoot raw, or not, depending on how much space you have left
> on the card.
>


I shoot raw 99% of the time.

> What about the default contrast/sharpness settings?
>


Not necessary with raw.

> Would you set a single focus point instead of 9?
>


I leave it on the center, and move it to one of the other points when
necessary.

> What about the flash sync speed... it's pretty annoying to have the
> shutter do a 1/2 sec exposure when you want a close-up of some object
> that is in some shady location.
>


When shooting flash indoors or shade, I put the camera in Manual and let the
flash expose automatically. In well-lit situations when I just want flash
for fill, I'm usually shooting in Av and I'll usually dial in a negative
flash exposure compensation.


> Other suggestions?
>


Experiment - there's no film to waste, just your time Really, the best
way to learn is to play around with the settings to see what works. There
is no single setting that works in all situations.


Mark


 
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Shawn Hirn
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Posts: n/a
 
      01-05-2008
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
EAL <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> The question would apply to many cameras, but I'm playing with my 40D
> right now...
>
> For general shooting, I suppose (possibly after a few weeks) most
> would set the control dial to P.
>
> You might shoot raw, or not, depending on how much space you have left
> on the card.
>
> What about the default contrast/sharpness settings?
>
> Would you set a single focus point instead of 9?
>
> What about the flash sync speed... it's pretty annoying to have the
> shutter do a 1/2 sec exposure when you want a close-up of some object
> that is in some shady location.
>
> Other suggestions?
>
> Ed


Its a digital camera so experiment with the settings you like best.
There is no right or wrong answer. Me? I would leave the camera on the
default settings for most shots, and just adjust shutter and aperture as
needed, and also shoot in the highest resolution jpeg.
 
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EAL
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-05-2008
On Sat, 05 Jan 2008 00:41:19 -0600, Neil Ellwood
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On Sat, 05 Jan 2008 04:00:56 +0000, EAL wrote:
>
>> The question would apply to many cameras, but I'm playing with my 40D
>> right now...
>>
>> For general shooting, I suppose (possibly after a few weeks) most would
>> set the control dial to P.
>>
>> You might shoot raw, or not, depending on how much space you have left
>> on the card.
>>
>> What about the default contrast/sharpness settings?
>>
>> Would you set a single focus point instead of 9?
>>
>> What about the flash sync speed... it's pretty annoying to have the
>> shutter do a 1/2 sec exposure when you want a close-up of some object
>> that is in some shady location.
>>
>> Other suggestions?
>>
>> Ed

>
>My suggestion would be to go to your local lending library and borrow a
>couple of books on photography, study them and then go out and practice.


Yah, excellent advice, albeit idealistic... myself, I've already read
a couple of them, and shot a Rebel for 2 years before buying the 40D.

I find it puzzling that the 40D, a fairly advanced camera, is
seemingly designed for the point-and-shooter, with all those basic
settings on the control dial, and many presets in the creative
settings that again suggest a user who isn't going to do any
post-processing.

So, I'm getting control of the machine by setting it to my
preferences, but am hesitating in some cases, wondering if it is the
best way or wondering what I might be losing in order to gain
something else.

That's why I was asking what others do.

Back to your advice to read... how many people go to the library and
sit down to study a couple of photography books before using a
brand-new 40D?

And for that matter, how many of them would understand what they are
reading without having experience with the camera?

Ed
 
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EAL
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-05-2008
On Sat, 5 Jan 2008 08:53:39 -0500, "Mark B."
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>"EAL" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>news:(E-Mail Removed).. .
>> The question would apply to many cameras, but I'm playing with my 40D
>> right now...
>>

>
>I have the 30D, but the questions you asked apply to both...
>
>> For general shooting, I suppose (possibly after a few weeks) most
>> would set the control dial to P.

>
>Nope, I shoot Av most of the time.


That suggests indoor shooting with an external flash, or situations
where DOF is important, plus you are not going to use the main dial.

Whether you shoot P, Tv or Av makes no difference to the picture you
end up taking, assuming you DO use the main dial, because all three
modes will give the same shutter and aperture settings.

>
>> You might shoot raw, or not, depending on how much space you have left
>> on the card.

>
>I shoot raw 99% of the time.


Might not be an option if your CF card is nearing its capacity.

>
>> What about the default contrast/sharpness settings?

>
>Not necessary with raw.
>
>> Would you set a single focus point instead of 9?
>>

>
>I leave it on the center, and move it to one of the other points when
>necessary.
>
>> What about the flash sync speed... it's pretty annoying to have the
>> shutter do a 1/2 sec exposure when you want a close-up of some object
>> that is in some shady location.
>>

>
>When shooting flash indoors or shade, I put the camera in Manual and let the
>flash expose automatically. In well-lit situations when I just want flash
>for fill, I'm usually shooting in Av and I'll usually dial in a negative
>flash exposure compensation.


Good suggestions on using flash.

>
>> Other suggestions?
>>

>
>Experiment - there's no film to waste, just your time Really, the best
>way to learn is to play around with the settings to see what works. There
>is no single setting that works in all situations.


Yes, to a point. Properly done experiments are very time consuming.
I've taken hundreds of shots just testing the autofocus on a previous
camera. If you set out to experiment with such things as noise levels
at different ISOs, comparing in-camera sharpening with P-P sharpening,
diddling with exposure levels to improve dynamic range, and so on, you
will spend weeks on it. Smart people learn from what others have done
if the info is available. I would rather be taking pictures.

Ed
 
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Mark B.
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-05-2008

"EAL" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Sat, 5 Jan 2008 08:53:39 -0500, "Mark B."
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>>"EAL" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>>news:(E-Mail Removed). ..
>>> The question would apply to many cameras, but I'm playing with my 40D
>>> right now...
>>>

>>
>>I have the 30D, but the questions you asked apply to both...
>>
>>> For general shooting, I suppose (possibly after a few weeks) most
>>> would set the control dial to P.

>>
>>Nope, I shoot Av most of the time.

>
> That suggests indoor shooting with an external flash, or situations
> where DOF is important, plus you are not going to use the main dial.
>
> Whether you shoot P, Tv or Av makes no difference to the picture you
> end up taking, assuming you DO use the main dial, because all three
> modes will give the same shutter and aperture settings.
>


See below - indoors I typically shoot manual with external flash - I start
at 1/60, f/5.6, and ISO 400. I'll shoot lower ISO if possible, and adjust
the aperture and shutter speed if necessary.

>>
>>> You might shoot raw, or not, depending on how much space you have left
>>> on the card.

>>
>>I shoot raw 99% of the time.

>
> Might not be an option if your CF card is nearing its capacity.
>


Never been a problem with a pair of 2GB cards (along with a couple 1GB) and
a portable storage device, though I haven't had to dump to the psd too
often. On the 40D, I'd go with a pair of 4GB cards. Cards are too cheap
not to have enough.

>>
>>> What about the default contrast/sharpness settings?

>>
>>Not necessary with raw.
>>
>>> Would you set a single focus point instead of 9?
>>>

>>
>>I leave it on the center, and move it to one of the other points when
>>necessary.
>>
>>> What about the flash sync speed... it's pretty annoying to have the
>>> shutter do a 1/2 sec exposure when you want a close-up of some object
>>> that is in some shady location.
>>>


Go to manual exposure, and bump the ISO to 400 - higher if necessary.

>>
>>When shooting flash indoors or shade, I put the camera in Manual and let
>>the
>>flash expose automatically. In well-lit situations when I just want flash
>>for fill, I'm usually shooting in Av and I'll usually dial in a negative
>>flash exposure compensation.

>
> Good suggestions on using flash.
>
>>
>>> Other suggestions?
>>>

>>
>>Experiment - there's no film to waste, just your time Really, the
>>best
>>way to learn is to play around with the settings to see what works. There
>>is no single setting that works in all situations.

>
> Yes, to a point. Properly done experiments are very time consuming.
> I've taken hundreds of shots just testing the autofocus on a previous
> camera. If you set out to experiment with such things as noise levels
> at different ISOs, comparing in-camera sharpening with P-P sharpening,
> diddling with exposure levels to improve dynamic range, and so on, you
> will spend weeks on it. Smart people learn from what others have done
> if the info is available. I would rather be taking pictures.
>
> Ed


I do a bit of both.


Good luck,
Mark


 
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